South Dakota Supreme Court Strikes Down Voter-Approved Marijuana Amendment
Dakota News Now is reporting that the South Dakota State Supreme Court has struck down the voter-approved state constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana.
The court ruled that ‘Amendment A’ is unconstitutional. The law was supposed to take effect on July 1, 2021. The court ruled in a 4-1 decision. You can read the Court's opinion HERE.
The plaintiffs in the case were Pennington County Sherriff Kevin Thom, and SD Highway Patrol Superintendent Rick Miller. The challenge to the voter-approved change in the state's law was also backed by South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R).
“South Dakota is a place where the rule of law and our Constitution matter, and that’s what today’s decision is about," Noem said in response to the decision.
Attorneys for the challengers argued that Amendment A violates the state’s single-subject rule. South Dakota's single-subject rule requires ballot measures to be limited to a single subject.
The court agreed that Amendment A involved three separate subjects; recreational marijuana, hemp, and medical.
The single-subject rule was approved in 2018. According to South Dakota Public Radio, former Speaker of the House Mark Mickelson led the charge for the single-subject rule to prevent lengthy ballot measures that combine many proposals into one ballot question.
Dakota News Now also reports that South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, the group supporting Amendment A are working on a signature gathering. for a 2022 cannabis legalization initiative.
Matthew Schweich, campaign director for South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, said in a statement released Wednesday (November 24) the ruling is "extremely flawed," adding "It's a legal stretch and one that relies on the disrespectful assumption that South Dakota voters were intellectually incapable of understanding the initiative."
"The court has rejected common sense and instead used a far-fetched legal theory to overturn a law passed by over 225,000 South Dakota voters based on no logical or evidentiary support, Schweich said, "The ruling states that Amendment A comprised three subjects -- recreational marijuana, medical marijuana, and hemp legalization -- and that South Dakotans could not tell what they were voting on when voting for Amendment A."
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